West End of North Branch/B159.9

West End of North Branch/B159.9

The West End of the North Branch Storage Track didn't have any signals during the CTC era of the West Sub. Originally there were a set of semaphores that served as block signals before CTC was installed between the East End of North Branch and Maryland Jct. Here at the west end the two tracks merged into one just east of the B160 milepost. A short section of track still remains here at the east end. The track was originally part of the mainline. The switch to the storage track is long gone. Although the track is still intact doesn't mean it is in service. The track is back off from the WM bridge over the B&O. The track is now grown up and covered with trees. The track ends right at the top of the bank at a section of the right-of-way that was removed for a road. This track could possibly become part of the Western Maryland Survivors and host a Bed and Breakfast and other WM artifacts.

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The remaining WM track lies in the weeds east from the bridge. The further you walk east the more difficult it gets as the thorns and tress get bigger and bigger. Just think if the track would have been left down on the entire West Sub. It would have made a nice tourist railroad. (9/96 and 4/26/01)

On March 9, 2013 this was the view west from the leaning B160 milepost at the site where the WM once crossed the B&O. The bridge, piers, pole line, and stone walls were removed.

F7 239 has a train eastbound at the switch and semophores for the West End of the siding at North Branch. (1955, George Malsberry photo)

These two photo were taken at the location of the switch for the West End of the North Branch Storage Track. The crossties for the switch stand and switch are still in place. (1-14-05)

Pictured here are the concrete signal bases for the old semaphore block signals that were between Maryland Jct. and Hagerstown. Later CTC would replace this and other block signals between MY Tower at Maryland Jct and the East End of North Branch. The battery cellar is in ruins in the first photo with the eastbound signal base in the weeds to the left of the track. the signal base in the second photo is the former westbound block signal base. (1-14-05)

WM J Class 4-8-4 Potomac No. 1406 brings a westbound around the curve at the West End of North Branch and through the semaphores. Second photo looking east about the same location as the WM Potomac. The cross ties for the former switch to the storage track can be seen on the right. (Ray Wongus Collection of the WMRHS)and(1-14-05)

Approximately 2 years before the end of thru trains fairly new WM GP40 3799 takes a train west at the West End of North Branch. (May 12, 1973, Richard W. Jahn photo)

Looking east at the roadbed and signal bases that marked the west end of North Branch. Kinda difficult to see the signal bases but they are still there. (3-9-13)

The end of the track on the east side at North Branch. Here the track is banked for the curve that once was here on the fast freight line. The switch for the west end of the North Branch siding has been removed. The siding started just a few hundred feet west of here and ran to just past the Moore's Hollow Road crossing. (March 2002)

Looking east in the curve just east of the signal bases. The end of the ballast and roadbed can be seen in the distance. The track that was here was on an angle to keep speeds high. The second photo is looking west from the end of the roadbed. (3-9-13)

William P. Price has caught Train No.2 as it speeds east crossing over the Md. Rt.51 overpass at North Branch. The WM would cross back over the same road at Spring Gap. Today both bridges are gone. This bridge pictured above along with the right-of-way here at North Branch has been bulldozed away to make way for the widening of the road that took place in the early 1980's. The second photo shows the roads that now pass through the WM. The C&O Canal however still owns the WM right-of-way from the end of the track at here at North Branch to Tonoloway, 34 miles to the east.

WM Pacific #205 is speeding west with the Centennial Special headed for Cumberland. The train is pulling a baggage car containing a three foot diameter cake for celebrations in Cumberland. Two Pullmans and two office cars are also in the consist. 1952 marked 100 years since the WM was founded. (May 14, 1952/photo by William P. Price)

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